Early one Fourth of July morning, my dad answered the phone to hear a cheery young caller shout, “Happy Fourth of July!”
“Happy Fourth of July to you, but I think you have the wrong number, ” Daddy replied.
“No, I don’t have the wrong number,” the youngster answered. She continued, “I just wanted to wish someone a happy Fourth of July.”
My dad loved children and was delighted by this surprise call. At our family Independence Day celebration the following year, he announced, “I wish my little Fourth of July friend would call this year.”
The words of a young child, who had randomly selected a telephone number, blessed my father. A patriot, World War II veteran, and educator, he appreciated her enthusiastic expression of joy and patriotism.
Sometimes, it’s easy to encourage other people by simply using our words.
Currently, discouraging words about our country pour into our homes as powerfully and consistently as lava flows from an active volcano. Violent reactions and disrespectful verbiage fill television screens. Some burn flags, some refuse to stand for the national anthem, and some issue rhetoric that reflects lack of pride for this great country.
Are we a perfect nation? Not by a long shot. Are there problems and woes? Yes, there are, as in all countries around the globe. Is there still work to be done to negotiate freedom and protection? Of course, there is, but will we refuse to honor the very land we call home because she has flaws?
Will we exchange patriotism for disdain? Will we refuse to uphold our nation’s underpinnings and to show pride when her flag flies high? Will we ignore the good because serious problems exist?
Americans have a Constitutional right to express their opinions. Can we not share our viewpoints without spewing hateful, derogatory words about people who disagree? Must we label groups negatively because we have opposing stances? Can we not stand up for what we believe and express our ideas without lowering patriotic standards and viciously attacking others?
As we celebrate Independence Day, what encouraging words can we share about the United States of America? How can we foster patriotism and respectful expression of opinion?
Speaking of words, will you join me in more fervently praying for our nation and her leaders?
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
–2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV